Royalty attends meeting on Intellectual Property Cooperation
By Lyna Mohamad

Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Muta-Wakkilah Hayatul Bolkiah attended the 35th Meeting of the Asean Working Group on Intellectual Property Cooperation (AWGIPC), which is hosted by the Attorney General's Chambers, yesterday at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom of the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong.

Also attending the meeting were director generals and senior officials from some of the Intellectual Property officesof the Asean member states and the Asean Secretariat. Issues to be discussed will be the Asean IPR Action Plan 2011-2012 and the Asean-Dialogue Partner Activities.

The Asean IPR Action Plan is designed to meet AEC goals through the transforming of Asean into an innovative and competitive region through the use of IP for their respective nationals and ensuring that the region remains an active participant in the international IP community.

IPR has gained prominence as an important issue in the international arena, whether in discussions on public health, education, trade, industrial policy, traditional knowledge, biodiversity, biotechnology, the Internet, the cultural industries or climate change with IPR recognition increasing as a powerful tool for development, the need to harness, protect and promote the creativity of Asean nationals.

These serve to secure the future of the region and promote economic integration while at the same time, ensuring protection for the creations and innovations of citizens of other countries to promote Asean as a safe haven for IP protection.

Asean, given the rapid expansion of international norms and cross-cutting concerns in IP, needs to craft an approach that takes into account the diverse needs and varying levels of capacity of its members states, among others, in the context of broader societal interests and creation, technological innovation and transfer, business generation in a manner conducive to the welfare of the region.

This was stated in last year's AWGIPC hosted by Vietnam where it was also highlighted that Asean needs to keep track of international developments in IP and determine what best practices can be adopted at the regional level.

Asean has been working towards the development of the IP system in the region through the AWGIPC for the past several years. AWGIPC was established in 1996 as a pursuant to the Asean Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation signed by Asean Member States (AMS) in Bangkok, Thailand in 1995.

AWGIPS is mandated to develop, coordinate and implement all IP-related regional programmes and activities in Asean.

This year's meeting marks the first time Brunei Darussalam hosts the AWGIPS which will run until March 18. - Borneo Bulletin (15th March 2011)